Diana Ross has a new album out, THANK YOU. Sunday, we did "The Diana Ross Roundtable" at THIRD. Here's an excerpt:
Jim: So it's a studio album. She's had a lot of hits on the dance charts in the last two years. These have been remixes.
Wally: She has had number one dance chart hits. That's amazing. This is a career that saw her score hits in the 60, the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the 00s, the 10s and now the 2020s.
Ruth: That is a significant accomplishment. I was shocked when I read "" -- probably should not have been -- to learn that NPR elected to completely ignore THANK YOU. They did not do any reports on Diana Ross or any interviews with her and did not even include her album in their Friday roundtable. That woman is my age. I will not be opening a major festival in England next year. I never had a musical voice as lovely as she does but what I did have is long gone. She has been a pioneer for decades and it is a real slap in the face that they did not take the time to acknowledge her. I believe I am two or three years older than she is.
Elaine: ON that, I would like to point out that Johnny Cash doing his final albums was treated as world news and Diana is now older than Johnny was when he passed away. Is it her race? Is it her gender? Is it both? What reason, exactly, would NPR like to give for disrespecting her?
Isaiah: THANK YOU would be an amazing album for anyone to release -- Brandy, Demi Lovato, you name it.
Cedric: I really agree with that. We listen, Ann and I, to it constantly. Our oldest sings along with some of the songs and our youngest springs up and down trying to dance.
Ann: It is a joyful album.
Betty: You know, I think that might be the best tagline for it, "a joyful album." I really love it. I love all of Diana's work. But I really love this one. It has some of the crisp, tight and clean feel that Ashford & Simpson helped her achieve with THE BOSS. And I was thinking about that and thinking of how the 80s were a dramatic decade -- synths, big shoulder pads, etc. And Diana's albums reflected that decade. And I love them. SWEPT AWAY is an 80s classic. But this album's a bit more relaxed.
Ann: And, like Betty, I loved that drama -- "Mirror, Mirror," "Muscles," "Swept Away," "Eaten Alive," etc. Great songs. But this one was a bit of -- a little more peace, a little more introspection? A little -- well, hope. Hope for the world we're living in. It really did speak to me.
Jess: When I was a kid, I remember Diana Ross performing at the Superbowl half-time show. And we were not a TV family. But we did watch that. And I remember my folks being so excited. They were telling my sister and I and I think we were both like "Huh?" Then it came time for her to perform and we got it because we knew all the songs -- from the radio, from our parents playing the music in the house.
Ava: What did you think of this album?
Jess: I like it. I like the energy and the attitude.
Ava: I like it too and I want to give Diana huge praise for putting out a real album, for doing so in the pandemic and for not trying the stunt so popular of late where you just do duets. I don't need to hear anybody redo their catalogue but as duets. Not that fond of Frank Sinatra's two albums at the end of his career and if he couldn't really pull it off, who can? But look at Elton John, Reba and all the rest serving up slop.
I really do love the album and, track for track, it really holds up. If you're a Diana fan, I think you'll love the album. It's really something.
That's her video for "I Still Believe."
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Friday, December 10, 2021. If there was an assassination attempt on Mustafa al-Kahdimi, who was behind it? US trops are not leaving Iraq and the US continues to persecute Julian Assange.
Starting with a documentary Ruth noted earlier "JFK UNSOLVED: THE REAL CONSPIRACIES ."
KGO -- ABC 7 in the Bay Area -- produced the documentary with Dan Noyes as the reporter and with interviews with Josiah Thompson (his most recent book on the assassination of JFK is LAST SECOND IN DALLAS) and Clint Hill (a Secret Service agent from the Eisenhower era to the Ford administration; he was in Dallas the day JFK was shot and is the one who jumped on the trunk after the shooting to shield the injured president and Jaqueline Kennedy).
All these years later and not only do questions remain but documents remain hidden -- documents that should have been released long ago. Run out the clock and hope that by the time they're finally released it's an attitude of, "Oh, yeah, all those years ago bbrutal things happened. You know like with Julius Caesar. That's just how it was back then." I do hope all the liars are held accountable -- not just the people that carried out the hit but also those who have made careers (and big bucks) out of lying and attacking. They'll tell any lie at all -- like VARIETY's Owen as Ava and I noted in "Media: The stupid and the liars choose to serve corporations, not people:"
We think it's sad news that Oliver Stone has had to revisit the assassination of JFK. It's sad but telling -- and most telling on our media.
58 years ago, then-President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. The American people didn't buy the whitewash of The Warren Commission or it's 'expert; staff which included Gerald Ford (later a US president -- an unelected US president) and Arlen Specter (later a US senator). A lot of people got 'lucky' or paid off because of how they responded to the assassination. Lie -- like Ford and Specter -- and you or your children have a career -- Dan Rather, Ethan Hawke (are we really going to be the only ones to point out Ethan's connection?), Harry Connick Jr., Cokie Roberts . . .
There were people and outlets who questioned the nonsense in real time -- Jim Garrison, Mark Lane, and both Mort Sahl and Woody Allen made ridiculing The Warren Commission part of their stand up acts. But the establishment managed to stifle a robust discussion by (a) ignoring it and (b) ridiculing it when they had to acknowledge it. And those who stifle a robust discussion get rewarded. Even by the 'left.' Last year, RISING elected to invite on plastic surgery freak Gerald Posner. Gerald dismissed any questions about the assassination in CASE CLOSED. Since the publication of that book, turns out that Posner isn't just a freak in the mirror, he's a freak on the page. He plagiarizes non-stop. He got fired from THE DAILY BEAST for it. Then, turns out, it was discovered he plagiarized in books and writings prior to joining THE DAILY BEAST. But RISING thought he was an acceptable guest. Lies and all, right, doesn't matter a bit. Doesn't matter to VARIETY's Owen Gleibernman who cited the work of the plagiarist to attack Oliver's new documentary.
We have to wonder -- and we did ask an editor we know at VARIETY -- is that now the standard for the rag? You refute an argument by citing the work of a plagiarist?
And let's be clear, Owen refuted nothing. Owen offered nothing. He just dismissed and cited Twink-Faced-Frankenstein Gerald and added his own crackpot claims. Such as? Life is too damn short so we'll do one and only one:
Speaking of the throat wound, if it was, as the documentary claims, an entrance wound, caused by a bullet coming from the grassy knoll, wouldn’t that bullet have ripped through the side of Kennedy’s neck?
As we asked our friend as VARIETY, "How stupid is this bitch?"
He wrote that. Owen wrote that garbage. Took the time to type it up. If it was a throat wound, it wouldn't have come through the side of the neck. Has Owen ever taken his candy ass to Dallas? Has he been to Dealey Plaza? We asked community members Sabina and Dallas to each go there Saturday and stand in the approximate place where JFK was shot.
Now, per The National Archives, JFK was shot at three times. The first shot missed. Shots two and three struck. As we already knew before we looked at the photos that Sabina and Dallas sent us, the Grassy Knoll is in front of where shots two and third struck. Or, if Own prefers, "Front and to the side, front and to the side." (If you suffered through his piece, you got our joke there.) The car was not parallel to the Grassy Knoll when shots two and three were fired.
Maybe it's not just the stupid and the liars. Maybe in the case of Owen Gleibernman it's possible to be both someone who gets it wrong because their stupid and also because they're a liar.
They'll tell any lie that they think they can get away with.
We bring it up because it's over a month now since the alleged assassination attempt on Mustafa al-Kahdimi. The prime minister of Iraq claims he was targeted. He claims six of his bodyguards were injured (the Iraqi government has claimed, at different times, four, five and six -- no names have ever been released which is why Iraqis on social media are skeptical about the injuries -- among other things). Mustafa tried to ride the attempt or 'attempt' to popularity. He's desperate for a second term but the Iraqi epople don't want him and press-appointed king maker Moqtada al-Sadr isn't cray about him while the one to always watch, Nouri al-Maliki, loathes him. Nouri knows how to game the system and he's also been meeting with various blocs in his attempt to form the largest bloc and claim the right to name the prime minister designate. WHile Nouri scrambles, Mustafa eats pastries and licks his fingers. Fat and happy, right Moqtada? Caftans can only hide so much.
So the day after the attempt or 'attempt' on his life, Mustafa shows up in public to proclaim he is strong and well and he knows who is behind the attempt (or 'attempt').
It's a month later.
Where are the arrests?
Or the arrest if it was some sort of 'lone gunman' flying the drones.
Where are the arrests?
Seems to me that a real attack, a real attempt to assassinate the prime minister of a country would result in arrests -- especially if they were claiming to know who carried it out. Seems to me that not making any arrests is saying that anyone can get away with anything which would make Mustafa a huge target.
The government of Iran, in various state publications, is claiming that the US government was behind the attack. That's something thats existed on Iraqi social media since the day of the attempt (or 'attempt'). That argument goes that the US backed Mustafa (true) and they realize Mustafa will probably be replaced because he's so unpopular so they staged an attack that would draw sympathy for Mustafa and force the country to rally around him.
If that is what happened, the US government is really stupid. There's been no rallying around Mustafa and only an idiot would have believed that there would be. He's unpopular. Not because he has bad breath, because he's done nothing. He promised he'd come in, hold early elections, and then leave But the early elections got pushed back. He's done nothing to address corruption.
Real assassinations have taken place. Protesters and journalists have been wounded and killed. And their killers -- members of the Iraqi government -- walk free.
Mustafa will give a fiery remark or show up for a photo-op but that's it.
People don't trust him and they don't like him.
Where are the arrests?
Again if it was a real attempt on his life, the failure to make any arrests sends a message that attempting to assassinate him is okay and no big deal.
Meanwhile US troops in Iraq aren't going anywhere. Lolita C. Bandor and Robert Burns (AP) report:
The top U.S. commander for the Middle East said Thursday that the United States will keep the current 2,500 troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future, and he warned that he expects increasing attacks on U.S. and Iraqi personnel by Iranian-backed militias determined to get American forces out.
Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie said in an interview with The Associated Press at the Pentagon that despite the shift by U.S. forces to a non-combat role in Iraq, they will still provide air support and other military aid for Iraq’s fight against the Islamic State.
Noting that Iranian-backed militias want all Western forces out of Iraq, he said an ongoing uptick in violence may continue through December.
despite headlines, spin and claims, the US military is now Gilbert
Grape with Leo braking down the truth, "We're not going anywhere."
What he's saying: Though the U.S. is ending its combat mission in Iraq, they will continue to provide air and other support in the fight against the Islamic State, McKenzie told AP.
They'll provide air and other support? Yeah, this is the conversation that some members of Congress were having back in 2013 about how it was a lie to say these weren't combat missions. Regardless, at least 2,500 US troops will remain in Iraq.
Meanwhile THE INTERNATIONAL QURAN NEWS AGENCY reports:
During a meeting with commanders of eight Iraqi Resistance groups, Shaykh Akram al-Kaabi said he did not believe the promise of the United States to withdraw from the country by the end of this year, citing statements by American military officials. He called the call for the dissolution of the Popular Mobilization Forces based on the demand of the Arab and Hebrew reactionaries and stated that the Resistance considers its weapons as sacred and will never lay them down.
Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen satellite television channel announced and broadcast a detailed video of a meeting held between the commanders of the Iraqi Islamic Resistance groups operating against the United States and Hujjat al-Islam Akram al-Kaabi, the secretary-general of Iraq’s al-Nujaba Islamic Resistance Movement, including the Ashab al-Kahf [Companions of the Cave], Liwa al-Thayirin [Revolutionaries’ Brigade], Liwa Thar al-Muhandis [Revenge of al-Muhandis Brigade], Liwa al-Qasem [Qasem Brigades], Tashkil al-Warithin [Establishment of the Inheritors], Fasil al-Muqawamah al-Dawliyyah [International Resistance Faction], Rijal Allah [Men of God] and Saraya Thawrah al-Ishrin al-Thaniyah [Second ۱۹۲۰ Revolutionary Brigade].
In this meeting, Hujjat al-Islam al-Kaabi, while listing the examples of assassination, murder, looting, evil and sacrilege in the behaviour of the government of the United States, stated, “Fighting against the United States and its followers in the region and the world is a religious and national obligation, and the Resistance does not retreat or waive this obligation in any way. Today, the arrogant American regime has arrogant and colonial projects not only in Iraq, but everywhere, and seeks to impose its influence on the whole world.”
Some might argue that Joe Biden was painting a target on the bakcs of those who will remain in Iraq. Others might argue that this is the point, to have an event that sparks more US troops heading into Iraq and an attempt to increase the liklihood of war on Iran. That would make sense when we think about the background of who Joe's nominated to be the new US ambassador to Iraq -- her background and her public statements. (She's no fan of Iran, to put it mildly.)\
Would the US government be that sneaky? Of course they would. Related, Glenn Greenwald (SUBSTACK) reports the latest on the US government's continued persecution of Julian Assange:
In a London courtroom on Friday morning, Julian Assange suffered a devastating blow to his quest for freedom. A two-judge appellate panel of the United Kingdom's High Court ruled that the U.S.'s request to extradite Assange to the U.S. to stand trial on espionage charges is legally valid.
As a result, that extradition request will now be sent to British Home Secretary Prita Patel, who technically must approve all extradition requests but, given the U.K. Government's long-time subservience to the U.S. security state, is all but certain to rubber-stamp it. Assange's representatives, including his fiancee Stella Morris, have vowed to appeal the ruling, but today's victory for the U.S. means that Assange's freedom, if it ever comes, is further away than ever: not months but years even under the best of circumstances.
In endorsing the U.S. extradition request, the High Court overturned a lower court's ruling from January which had concluded that the conditions of U.S. prison — particularly for those accused of national security crimes — are so harsh and oppressive that there is a high likelihood that Assange would commit suicide. In January's ruling, Judge Vanessa Baraitser rejected all of Assange's arguments that the U.S. was seeking to punish him not for crimes but for political offenses. But in rejecting the extradition request, she cited the numerous attestations from Assange's doctors that his physical and mental health had deteriorated greatly after seven years of confinement in the small Ecuadorian Embassy where he had obtained asylum, followed by his indefinite incarceration in the U.K.
In response to that January victory for Assange, the Biden DOJ appealed the ruling and convinced Judge Baraitser to deny Assange bail and ordered him imprisoned pending appeal. The U.S. then offered multiple assurances that Assange would be treated "humanely" in U.S. prison once he was extradited and convicted. They guaranteed that he would not be held in the most repressive "supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado — whose conditions are so repressive that it has been condemned and declared illegal by numerous human rights groups around the world — nor, vowed U.S. prosecutors, would he be subjected to the most extreme regimen of restrictions and isolation called Special Administrative Measures ("SAMs”) unless subsequent behavior by Assange justified it. American prosecutors also agreed that they would consent to any request from Assange that, once convicted, he could serve his prison term in his home country of Australia rather than the U.S. Those guarantees, ruled the High Court this morning, rendered the U.S. extradition request legal under British law.
What makes the High Court's faith in these guarantees from the U.S. Government particularly striking is that it comes less than two months after Yahoo News reported that the CIA and other U.S. security state agencies hate Assange so much that they plotted to kidnap or even assassinate him during the time he had asylum protection from Ecuador. Despite all that, Lord Justice Timothy Holroyde announced today that “the court is satisfied that these assurances” will serve to protect Assange's physical and mental health.
The following sites updated: